The historical study of war in the Spain of Philip II forms the starting point for the articles in this volume. They approach this not so much from a military angle, but as a problem of organization, procurement and finance. In a sense, the articles represent an assessment of the effectiveness of the Spanish government and so, given the apparent precocity of government growth in 16th-century Spain, they can also be seen as a critical commentary on the operational capabilities of the early-modern absolutist state. Six of the essays here focus on the Spanish Armada, in terms of its political and military objectives, but demonstrating how these were conditioned by basic systems limitations, not least in the procurement of suitable cannon. In the final articles Dr Thompson turns to the impact of war and its financing on the social structure, bearing in particular on the definition of nobility (and its sale), and on local democracy, and making full use, here as elsewhere, of the relatively unexplored local sources. Two of the papers here appear for the first time in English, whilst a third has been newly prepared for this volume. L’étude historique de la guerre sous Philippe II, roi d’Espagne, est Ã la base des articles contenus dans le présent recueil. Ceci est abordé non tant sous l’angle militaire, mais comme un problème d’organisation, d’acquisition de matériel et de financement. En un certain sens, ces documents représentent une évaluation de l’efficacité du gouvernement espagnol et peuvent par conséquent, étant donnée l’apparente précocité de la croissance gouvernementale en Espagne au 16 siècle, Ãªtre considérés comme un commentaire critique quant aux capacités opérationnelles de l’Etat absolu proto-moderne. Une demi douzaine des essais font l’examen de l’Armada espagnole, en terme d’objectifs politiques et militaires, tout en démontrant comment ces derniers étaient conditionnés par des contraintes structurales,
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; The Battle of Lepanto 1571: the costs of victory; Taxation, military spending and the domestic economy in Castile in the later 16th century; The impact of war; Aspects of Spanish military and naval organization during the Ministry of Olivares; The appointment of the Duke of Medina Sidonia to the command of the Spanish Armada; Spanish Armada guns; Spanish Armada gun procurement and policy; The invincible Armada; The Spanish Armada: naval warfare between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic; Philip II: What if he had won?; A map of crime in 16th-century Spain; The Concejo Abierto of Alfaro in 1602: the struggle for local democracy in 17th-century Castile; The purchase of nobility in Castile, 1552-1700; Neo-noble nobility: concepts of hidalguia in early modern Castile; Hidalgo and pechero: the language of ’estates’ and ’classes’ in early-modern Castile; Index.
'...this volume of collected essays shows the same fine qualities evident in his first book: a clear style; challenging; new interpretations; and impressive use in argument of quantitative data and other empirical detail derived from a deep acquaintance with archive source material.' Mariner’s Mirror 'This collection of valuable reprints, some very technical, some of broad sweep, comes in three parts and represents some formidable scholarship. The range is great but the focus is steady...' History